chapter  7
24 Pages

‘Hitting Back’ at Organized Crime: The Adoption of Civil Forfeiture in Ireland

Organized crime is now firmly entrenched at the heart of popular discourse on crime in Ireland. Since the mid 1990s, there has been a raft of legislative measures enacted to combat the threat posed by organized crime, and politicians have been quick to resort to emotive sound bites justifying the need for ever-more draconian legislation that strikes at due process values. Over the past 15 years, there have, for example, been significant changes to anti-money laundering legislation,2 the rules of surveillance,3 powers of detention,4 the law governing bail,5 the law governing participation in organized crime type activities,6 the adoption of civil forfeiture,7 the establishment of the Criminal Assets Bureau,8 and the establishment of an ad hoc witness protection programme. There has also been considerable academic commentary on how the threat of organized crime has influenced criminal justice reform in Ireland. For example, O’Donnell and O’Sullivan have discussed this in relation to zero-tolerance policing,9 Campbell has examined how the pre-trial and trial process have been affected,10 and Conway and Mulqueen have argued that there is now a shift towards the securitization of crime.11 This chapter contributes to this debate by examining how organized crime was thrust into the heart of popular

1 I thank Prof. Dermot Walsh, Prof. Clive Walker and Dr Eimear Spain for valuable feedback.